The Big Guns Are out to Keep the Foreign Labor Pipeline Open

Dear All,

As predicted, the interim final rules (IFRs) published by DHS and DOL a couple of weeks ago have the H-1B visa-dependent companies and universities in this country on red alert.

Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia and Ken Cuccinelli, the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Secretary, hit them hard with the adjustment to the prevailing wage, so they have lawyered up, filing lawsuits in Oakland, California, and Trenton, New Jersey. A third lawsuit may be coming in the District of Columbia.

You could almost call it a litigation triple header, except that in these lawsuits the defendants are the same, but the plaintiffs are different. And it is on the plaintiffs I would like to spend a little time.

They range from prestigious universities to several bottom-feeding body shops that have been convicted of employment fraud and other schemes that exploit foreign workers while displacing the native workforce. The one thing they all seem to share that has joined them in common cause is their fondness for “visa labor racketeering.” (Thanks for the term, Irvin!)

Filed a week ago, the first lawsuit’s plaintiffs are ITServe Alliance, DOTS Technologies, Iflowsoft Solutions, Kolla Soft, Nam Info, Precision Technologies, Smart Works and Zenith Services.

ITServe Alliance is a powerful association that lobbies on behalf of H-1B visa-dependent staffing firms like the ones mentioned above. How low do these body shops go? Iflowsoft Solutions is a good example. It has a penchant for paying its H-1B visa workers far below the prevailing wage.

Last year in one Glassdoor review, a former employee who was making $25 an hour in New York City found out they were charging the client at whose company he was actually working $125 an hour for his services. In 2011, Iflowsoft Solutions was forced to settle with the Justice Department for engaging in country-of-origin discrimination against Americans. Matt Bonness did a quick summation of this group’s violations and complaints in a tweet earlier this week.

The second lawsuit was filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, a body shop to the healthcare industry and several colleges and universities, including Cornell and the University of Southern California. The plaintiffs stated:

“These rules are extraordinary: If left unchecked, they would sever the employment relationship of hundreds of thousands of existing employees in the United States, and they would virtually foreclose the hiring of new individuals via the H-1B program.”

The plaintiffs apply the same logic antagonists of a living wage use when fighting raising the minimum wage use. With a straight face, these institutions tell us if we pay these foreign workers an appropriate wage, they will have to fire them. Really, talk about employers who have become addicted to cheap labor!

Ten of the 17 plaintiffs in the third lawsuit that we found on the American Immigration Law Attorneys (AILA) website are colleges and universities. Nowhere in the complaint do the plaintiffs state they currently pay their foreign teachers and postdocs an appropriate wage. Rather they state the wages they pay their H-1B visa holders are “set at an arbitrary wage level.”

It appears they are preparing to file this complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. I believe these lawsuits are vulnerable if for no other reason than there is no way to justify paying any worker in this country as inappropriately as they do. Reams of evidence exist to demonstrate that foreign workers here on H-1B visas earn demonstrably less than their American citizen counterparts. Whether they be a private company or a university, the plaintiffs have simply grown addicted to a cheap and exploitable pool of labor.

In much the same way that legal challenges were raised against EO 10052 the Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak, they are being raised against the IFRs. At that time, three lawsuits were filed in federal district courts, and the Trump administration prevailed in two of them. The administration lost in the Ninth Circuit in Oakland, California, the same place where almost the same plaintiffs have filed their current lawsuit.

We must beat back all three of these lawsuits, and I do not believe we will unless we can demonstrate a GROUNDSWELL of support for the DOL and DHS IFRs by thousands of tech workers. The University of Michigan is dead wrong. There is nothing extraordinary about the changes to the prevailing wages.

However, as much as we know that to be true, we hope to prevail in the courtroom. Thousands of tech workers bearing witness to the exploitation, fraud, discrimination, and displacement wrought by the H-1B visa program should be enough to inform any judge that these reforms were long overdue.

Join us by becoming witness to the abuses you encountered on the job or in search of work and then click on the call to action graphic below. When you step forward now and join us in beating back the lawsuits, we have a good chance to win and win big!  We will see the dawn of a new day in the lives of American workers. You and future generations of skilled American workers will retain the ability to earn more and have secure livelihoods.

If we lose, the system will go back on the downward spiral autopilot it has been on.  The days we think of today as “bad days” could become “the good ole days.” Are we willing to let this happen?

Let’s stop the injustice of the downward spiral in the American workplace and win this together!

Click on the link below to join us!
Who comes to your mind when you think of this movement? Will you share this with them now?

Which of your friends and colleagues have been most impacted by labor visa racketeering Will you share this link with them today or tomorrow?

In closing, if you have any questions, reach out to me directly by responding to this email.

In solidarity.